England Lions in Sri Lanka 2013-14 January 21, 2014

Rayner called up to Lions squad

ESPNcricinfo staff

Ollie Rayner, the Middlesex spinner, has been officially added to the England Lions touring party, with Simon Kerrigan unable to travel to Sri Lanka due to a back injury. Kerrigan will be monitored over the coming week to see if he is able to join the squad later on.

Rayner, 28, has never represented England before at any level but enjoyed a successful 2013, taking 46 wickets at 22.04, including a 15-wicket haul against Surrey - the best figures by a Middlesex bowler since 1955. A tall offspinner, Rayner is also a capable batsman, with two first-class hundreds to his name.

Kerrigan's participation has been in doubt after he suffered a back injury at a pre-tour preparation camp earlier in the month. The Lancashire left-arm spinner made his Test debut against Australia at The Oval last year but bowled only eight overs, at a cost of 53 runs, and subsequently pulled out of the Performance Programme tour of Australia to work with coaches at Old Trafford and Loughborough.

David Parsons, the ECB's performance director, said: "Simon has progressed very well over the past week and we remain hopeful that he will be able to join up with the tour party later in the tour following an assessment from the medical staff at Old Trafford next week."

The Lions depart England on Sunday for a tour featuring three unofficial Tests against Sri Lanka A, as well as two three-day matches in Colombo. The four-day matches are scheduled for Kandy, Dambulla and Colombo, with the first beginning on February 12.

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  • Mark on January 22, 2014, 16:17 GMT


    As I understand it (you may have better information than me), like Reece Topley before him, Essex are bringing on Tymal Mills very slowly and are restricting deliberately his exposure to 1st XI cricket. Actually, a number of people were seriously proposing that Tymal Mills be picked and he was used as a net bowler by the Test squad, separating him from the rest of the EPP members, leading to speculation that he could get picked.

    For a fast bowler this is not such a crazy notion. Bob Willis, Graham Dilley and Norman Cowans and Jimmy Anderson had hardly played any county cricket when they first played for England (all against Australia, in Australia, I believe) because fast bowlers can suddenly come through so, when the call was made for some high pace to counter Mitch Johnson, a far number of pundits did call for Tymal Mills to be picked. However, I would still have gone for Chris Jordan myself.

  • Mark on January 22, 2014, 8:52 GMT

    @Tigg Absolutely right. However, don't write him off either. Fans on here tend to do that, a lot. Monty was written off on here as useless on the basis of his first three Tests in India when he had only played half a season of full-time county cricket. I suspect that most people who comment on here don't follow county cricket much anyway and even less, attend it.

    If Ollie Rayner *were* to have another good season, why not consider him? It wasn't so long ago that we were taking spinners of the class of Martyn Ball and Richard Dawson to India and Graeme Hick was our leading wicket-taker (with 6) in one particularly depressing series.

    The only point that I am making is that the situation is nowhere near as dramatic as people like to make out.

  • Simon on January 22, 2014, 7:54 GMT

    @Cricketing stargazer.

    Michael Vaughan has also suggested picking Tymall Mills, a man who struggles to break into his county first team. Just 'cause he's a former England Captain and decent player doesn't mean he knows diddly about county players.

    Raynor has the right attributes (height, turn, good fielder, can bat)to be a successful international, but he's had one good season following about a decade of extreme mediocrity. If he is again consistently good next season then by all means, pick him. If not, leave him to Middlesex. Don't pick him based off one 15-fer and definitely don't play him in ODIs, his limited overs record is dreadful.

  • Mark on January 21, 2014, 23:01 GMT

    People do tend to flap a lot about this subject, especially Australians, who have been making the same complaint about their own team for 5 years. Twelve months ago we were arguing that the spin cupboard was anything but bare. There are young spinners such as Kerrigan, Borthwick and Briggs, any of whom could develop into a very fine bowler. Joe Root is more than a useful support bowler. James Tredwell has had a much better ODI record over the last two years than Graeme Swann (check the stats - most people are surprised by them) and no lesser authority than Michael Vaughan has tipped Ollie Rayner for England.

    No one would argue that England have spin bowling riches, but it was hardly a surprise that Graeme Swann's boots would be big ones to fill and a side like South Africa has a far bigger issue here and seems to do OK because they concentrate on their strengths, not their weaknesses.

  • Sachit on January 21, 2014, 17:30 GMT

    Greame Swann's exit has suddenly created a big void in England's bowling department. I don't think either of Tredwell, Kerrigan or Rayner is near to seize that spot at least in tests. They could be good to be tried in limited over formats though. Monty Panesar could be a solution but his lack of batting ability, disciplinary issues and inconsistency in form may still keep England's searching for the optimal option.

  • Jon on January 21, 2014, 17:29 GMT

    I don't mean to sound demeaning but it fills me with dread hearing the names of Kerrigan and Rayner as possibilities for an England shirt. We always knew our spin cupboard was bare but we are stuffed. The coaching of young English spinners and the way captains treat them as youngsters is 100 % to blame. Being a young spinner myself having played club cricket in Oz, England, SA and Sri Lanka, I must say the way we manage spinners is ridiculous. Captains will chuck them on against men and expect a leg spinner to go for under 4 an over. As soon as he gets wacked he will be dragged out the attack, sometimes even with shouts of anger from captains. In Oz they expect spinners to go for runs but are happy so long as wickets are coming. Generally the knowledge of spin bowling in the UK is awful and it wont get better util the mindset of the dinosaurs in charge changes.

  • Dummy4 on January 21, 2014, 16:23 GMT

    I've always liked the look of Rayner, he gives it a good tweak and is more than useful down the order with the bat. That said, I've never really thought of him as a possible international.

  • Peter on January 21, 2014, 15:08 GMT

    Well they sure need something - maybe this guy has got what takes.

    But it will take more than one fresh face to heal the scars the English team is getting from the tremendously large hiding they are getting in Australia at present.

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